Friday, February 20, 2015

Might the Shroud of Turin properly be described as a 'proximity imprint' in sweat and blood, real or simulated, to distinguish it from Freeman's faded painting?

"Thinks:  I'm getting bored doing these selfies. What could I do next - maybe on a religious theme?" NOT!!!

The Shroud of Turin is certainly not a painting. The mainly US-based STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project) task force showed as much in 1981, searching for but failing to find known artists' pigments, bar a few flecks of iron oxide (artists' red ochre?).

STURP's conclusions (1981), opening sentence: Click to ENLARGE.  STURP rejected out of hand any idea that the Shroud was a painted image. Has anyone told CharlesF?

While the origin of those latter particles is still uncertain (contamination?) one thing was certain: the sepia image did not comprise inorganic material, as per red ochre and/or other medieval paint pigments. Its spectral and chemical properties showed it was due to some kind of molecular change in the linen fibres per se - and a highly superficial one at that -  affecting the topmost 200nm of the weave, the thickness of gold leaf.

The most probable interpretation is of a chemical modification similar to that produced by scorching with a hot object. That  causes linen carbohydrates to undergo a range of subtle though permanent changes - chemical dehydration (i.e. loss of hydrogen and oxygen atoms in a 2:1 ratio), oxidation, cross-linking, formation of conjugated double bonds.  The latter, by absorbing visible blue light, results in a yellow discoloration.  We're told the Shroud image is not a scorch, only scorch-like.  Well, that may or may not be true, but today this posting is not about mechanism. It's about terminology.

Getting the right words to describe the Shroud image into the media and public domain has acquired a new urgency of late, given the recent claims that attempt to undo decades of research.  I refer to historian Charles Freeman's claim that the TS is merely an age-degraded painting.  I've said quite a lot on that score already elsewhere, as indeed have others, and have little more to add, except to say that Mr. Freeman needs to get up to speed with Shroud science, and disabuse himself of the idea that it's all about art history. The TS is arguably NOT about art. It's an artefact, intended for purposes other than mere artistic expression. Works of art do not generally result in the issue of Pilgrims' Badges (Lirey, France, circa 1357).

However, thanks to the robotic and mindless Google algorithm, Charles's misguided notions will no doubt survive for a while, at least on the internet.

Never underestimate the power of Google to give staying power to undeserving ideas, ones that can hang in there for months, sometimes years, thanks to sensationalist click-bait reporting. Charles Freeman's unreconstructed pre-STURP thinking is still listed 3rd and 5th when one googles (shroud of turin).

It's no longer sufficient in this blogger's view to continue describing the TS as a "faint image". That is too non-specific and makes it too easy for CF to peddle his antediluvian views (if STURP can be thought of as supplying a flood of new information).  "Faint image" or even faint NEGATIVE image simply does not do the business (CF having closed his eyes completely to the  implications of the tone-reversal implied by the descriptor "negative"). No, we need new updated terminology that makes it clear that the TS is not just any old "faint image", but one with very special, indeed unique properties that sets it apart from other pictorial representations of the human form. While that terminology cannot and must not attempt to impose a new orthodoxy regarding mechanism, actual or conjectural, it is entitled in my view to guide thinking in the right direction, while leaving key details unspecified.

So what is that terminology to be?

One has to be neither  pro- nor anti-authenticity to regard the TS image as an IMPRINT.

 Definition of "imprint" (noun): Free Dictionary:



1. a mark or indentation impressed on something.

2. any impression or impressed effect.

That straight away puts clear blue water between those who have taken on board three crucial aspects of the TS image and those who ignore all of those, claiming it was simply painted.

They are:

1. The life-size double image on an up-and-over sheet of linen, showing frontal and dorsal surfaces but importantly not sides or top of head, which implies IMPRINTING not painting.

Durante 2002/Shroud Scope image, frontal (left), dorsal (right) with some added contrast. Faded painting? Or some kind of whole body imprint on up-and-over linen, real or simulated? Note the negative (tone-reversed) nature of the image.

2. An imprinting mechanism explains the negative image, in which the most prominent features that in a photograph would look light through reflecting light appear dark because they are the ones that make closest contact with linen. (Whether actual contact or mere proximity alone is needed will be considered shortly|).

As above, after tone-reversal, displaying the remarkable transformation first discovered by Secondo Pia in 1898. Painting? How many free-hand paintings (as distinct from imprints) are produced as negatives, requiring modern technology centuries later to restore the proper tonal contrasts?

3. The 3D-properties of the TS negative image which contrary to early reports is not unique to the TS, but in fact are easily modelled  with contact-only imprints, e.g. model scorches from a heated template as this blogger and others has demonstrated, e.g. with a brass crucifix.

 The as-is Shroud image above, before tone-reversal, after 3D enhancement. Results at least as good, and indeed generally better than this, can be obtained with imprints from model systems, e.g. contact scorches from heated brass templates.

Those three characteristics as I say are not only consistent with, but entirely predictable from an imprinting process. They are neither consistent with nor predictable from free-hand painting. Let's say no more about painting, and try now to refine the terminology. "Imprint" is a start.  Can one improve on that?

Let's go back to STURP, and look at what its documenting photographer (or the best-known of them) had to say in 2000:

Is the Shroud of Turin a Medieval Photograph?
A critical examination of the theory.
Barrie M.Schwortz (2000)

"The STURP team concluded that there was a correlation between the density (or darkness) of the image on the Shroud and the distance the cloth was from the body at the time the image was formed. The researchers calculated that the image on the Shroud was formed at a cloth-to-body distance of up to approximately 4 centimeters, but beyond that, imaging did not occur. The closer the cloth was to the body, the darker the resulting image in that area, with the darkest parts of the image being formed where there was direct contact between the two. The image became proportionately lighter as the distance increased until it reached the maximum imaging distance."

Left to me I would have described the TS image as probably, indeed almost certainly a CONTACT imprint, such as can be modelled with hot templates. But the view exists, articulated above, and emanating in main from STURP physicist John Jackson PhD, that the TS image is not contact-only, but from modelling studies (at any rate)  appears to allow imaging across modest air gaps that do not exceed approx 4cm.  Personally, I think that latitude in allowing an air gap is a defect of the presumed imaging model, one that assumes a linen cloth spread loosely over a real corpse, and making only partial contact under gravity. That's a pro-authenticity scenario. However, the modeller who takes the radiocarbon dating on trust (1260-1390) is not constrained by that gravity-only assumption bringing cloth into close proximity, indeed physical contact with a real body. There's Luigi Garlaschelli's model for starters which used a live volunteer and manual frottage with powdered pigments, dry or as a slurry. Manual 'moulding' allows for greater contact especially in the awkward areas where cloth might tend to bridge gaps instead of following the contours. Then there's my own LOTTO method of scorch-imprinting: Linen On Top, Then (damp) Overlay, which also allows for moulding of linen to physical relief of a 3D or bas relief template.

Ler's not prejudge who is right, who is wrong.  Let's assume that all that's required is close proximity between a body and/or inanimate template that tolerates air gaps up to 4cm. 

It's an imprint, and it's one that requires close proximity .

Let's call the TS image a "proximity imprint".

Caveat: I've tried to be inclusive here, allowing for the possibility that  the image to have been produced by a burst of radiation (unspecified, see critique by the estimable Bernard Power ), and able to operate across air gaps. Without attempting to read  the minds of 'resurrection radiationists', whether it's electromagnetic radiation or even wackier subatomic particles - notably neutrons-  that are proposed, might they consider the term "imprint", even modified with "proximity" as a potential poisoned chalice? Well, I've given a little thought to that, and followed up with some googling. What do I find?  Those 'radiationist' ideas have already filtered through to the mainstream media under the heading "imprints".

Here's a sample:

If there's some grimacing then, it's from me, not them. I say an imprint implies a contact mechanism. A radiation mechanism that can operate across an air gap is better described surely as one involving projection and light capture, the latter requiring all kinds of ancillary hardware (lenses, collimating systems, light-sensitive emulsions etc - a far cry from simple contact-imprinting). But if they are happy for radiation- mediated imaging to be described as imprinting, then that's fine by me, at least for the time being, one where I regard the immediate road block/obstruction as Charles Freeman with his simplistic paint-based scenario  - one that attempts to turn the clock back on decades of Shroud research. One needs to get to grips with "negative image" and "3D properties", Charles, and quick, and cease lecturing us on how we have ignored the effects of wear and tear.  No we haven't. This blogger was using Shroud Scope well over two years ago to report indications of delamination of blood stains (blood being arguably a kind of paint pigment) and indeed finding evidence that had indeed happened, with implications for the blood first/image second dogma - no need to enlarge on that right now.

Takeaway message: don't make things too easy for Charles Freeman. Stop referring to a faint or faded Shroud image. Refer instead to a 'proximity imprint'.  "Imprint" alone will do if one is averse to qualifying adjectives...

Afterthought: the earliest known attempt to represent the Shroud post-Lirey was (I 'm given to understand) the 1516 Lier copy, i.e. some century and a half after its first known public display.

Whilst that copy was clearly painted (there being no attempt on the part of artist to conceal that fact) there is no indication that what being shown was a  considered a painting - quite the contrary in fact.

The Lier copy looks for all the world like the present day Shroud - a faint double body IMPRINT - the product of mechanical impression - not a painting.  The body image per se (excluding blood and curiously-coloured burn holes) is monochrome, suggestive of a sweat imprint.

Unrelated (or scarcely so) to the above, I've just come across this fascinating article:

Rembrandt thickened paints with flour

Two noteworthy points:

1. While paint was built up in a series of layers (I was searching to find typical paint thickness) each layer is described as incredibly thin - typically a thousandth of a mm. However, that is enormous compared with the claimed 200-600nm (nanometre) thickness of the TS image layer. A thousandth of a millimetre is a micrometre, and a micrometre is 1000 nm, so each paint layer of which there could be several could be up to 5 times as thick as the TS image.

2. There's a reference to a physical (and presumably non-destructive) technique for probing the superficial layers on ancient works of art.

Here's the relevant passage (my bolding):

First the researchers took a cross-section from a miniscule section of the painting. Then they used a variety of methods to probe the layers, including a technique called Time of Fly -- Secondary Ion Mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS). This technique involves sending a focused, high-energy beam of ions at the layered sample, then observing the ions that bounce back.
By analyzing the energy and chemical nature of the ejected ions, scientists can deduce detailed information about the types of elements and chemical bonds held within. For the second greyish layer of paint on the "Portrait of Nicolaes van Bambeeck," the scan showed, Rembrandt mixed oil and a small amount of lead with wheat flour.
 Might I suggest that you add that to your "Must Do" list, Turn custodians (preferably this century).

Update, 20:00  Feb 21: I see below a review of this posting on Dan Porter's shroudstory site that "there is a problem with JImage (sic)".

Link to comment

It seems to be prompted by my stating as verifiable fact that simple contact scorches respond as well if not better than the Turin Shroud in ImageJ software.

Might it also have been provoked by his noting that the 1532 burn marks respond to 3D enhancement in ImageJ (see my result above)?

It's time to draw a line under the "encoded" 3D-mystique that attaches to the Turin Shroud. The reason that the TS image, model scorch imprints and burn marks all respond to ImageJ is NOT because there is something "wrong" with ImageJ.  It's because ImageJ does what ImageJ does - namely converts image density into pseudo-3D relief in proportion to image density. I say "pseudo" because it's a simple job to show that ImageJ can be used to create pseudo-3D in 2D graphics that have never had any prior 3D history. I reported that on this site last summer, posting this result:

And here's a variant, entirely monochrome, and using a 'spray gun' (MS Paint) to create a gradient of image density:

Top: homemade 2D figure entered into ImageJ. Bottom: result after 3D rendering with two levels of smoothing - low (left) and high (right)

Even earlier I showed how a Mickey Mouse cartoon also responds, after a fashion, to ImageJ.

If anyone thinks or suspects that they have a 2D image that has some mysteriously-encoded 3D information that can only be detected in special software - nothing so easily-downloadable as ImageJ -  that only they know about, then the onus is on them to do what I have done above, namely to enter home-made 2D graphics with no 3D history into their gee-whizz software and show they do NOT respond. It's called being scientific (as distinct from mystique-mongering) which, though I hesitate to say it, adequately sums up 90% or more of post-STURP so-called  'Shroud-research' (including I might add that of some erstwhile demob-happy STURP team members).

Update Sunday Feb 22

I've previously compared the response of Shroud Scope images with my model scorch imprints, and reported the results. From memory the two were comparable, as indicated above. Tracking down those images has proved harder than I thought. The solution was obvious - simply do it again.  I've used a cropped scorch imprint onto linen from my small brass crucifix, about 15 cm high (a necessary caveat if minded to make quality comparisons).

TS frontal image, Shroud Scope (left) contrast-enhanced versus scorch imprint from brass crucifix (right). Appearance after 3D enhancement in ImageJ, with displayed settings.

Result confirmed. The two responses are much the same. Note too that lateral distortion, while apparent in the model scorch image, was not sufficient as often claimed to make for a grotesque result.

Further update, still Sunday.

As I feared, the suggestion that "imprint" be adopted as a description for the TS image has not been universally well-received. The term is thought to be loaded in favour of a contact-only mechanism, despite prefacing it with "proximity" and despite being used previously by those who mechanisms do not require actual physical contact.

The reason for making common cause with champions of pro-authenticity was not to make them drink from a poisoned chalice, as stated earlier, but to find some means of nudging Charles Freeman and his paint pigments out of mainstream Shroud research, and hopefully out of its totally undeserved media attention.

Well, I'm flexible, and certainly not trying to sneak a semantic Trojan horse into beleaguered Fort Pro-Authenticity.

Here's another suggestion. Refer to the Shroud as possessing a 'captured image'. Leave it open as to the mechanism of capture - contact, radiation, chemical, thermochemical, reactive vapours. But while artists may be said to capture 'likenesses' of their subjects, they can hardly be said to capture images. They are not 'cameras' in any shape or form.  They do not 'record'. At best they visually transcribe. They exert active mental control at every step (or lack thereof if incompetent, careless or hurried), unlike a recording process that is usually passive but arguably more reproducible, at least in principle.

More thoughts: the crucial difference between painting an image, vis-a-vis imprinting (oops, sorry) and image capture is that painted images are assembled in stages. Captured images appear in their entirety - not in stages. They may be weak images initially, taking time to intensify to a satisfactory level of visibility, but they are COMPLETE images from the word go. Maybe there's a better terminology lurking somewhere in the dictionary or thesaurus that incorporates the idea of total image capture, reminiscent of photography, but NOT photography.

Still more thoughts (12:00)

occurring at the same time; coinciding in time; contemporaneous; simultaneous. 2. going on at the same rate and exactly together; recurring together
How could it be distinguished from painting (non-synchronous)?

Presence/absence of image homogeneity is a key criterion.  Check for: homogeneity of colour, homogeneity of image thickness, homogeneity of contrast range (min-max intensity) etc etc.

Might there be further diagnostic tests that discriminate between a painted image and that acquired by synchronous image capture (regardless of mechanism)?

Consider IMAGE ATTRITION. Body image has to be treated separately from blood. Why? Because blood (interestingly) is in a sense paint -like, so one has an internal control, so to speak, when one attempts to compare the degradation patterns of body image v blood.

Shroud Scope image: the wishbone-shaped blood stain in the hair. Note the irregularity in the weave, running horizontally (yellow box).

Close-up of above. Note the hang-up of blood in the weave irregularity, implying attrition of blood elsewhere.

The above images and interpretation are from a posting on my specialist Shroud site from June 2012. Contrary to what Charles Freeman  says, some of us have been considering the effects of image attrition for quite some time. I was using evidence of bloodstain attrition to probe the Adler/Heller narrative-friendly claim that blood stains preceded body image  - and finding it highly questionable (note the way that image density above appears just as strong where blood stains have apparently flaked off).

Attrition of body image, by a different mechanism from blood, i.e. fracture of brittle and weakened linen fibres, had not escaped this blogger's attention well before Charles Freeman scolded us all for thinking the TS always looked the way it does today.

 Here's another posting of mine , this time from March 11, 2014:

March 11 2014

Yes, image fibres were reported by Ray Rogers to be brittle and prone to breakage, something he discovered during sampling with sticky tape. There is no obvious reason why a paint-bearing fibre should be weaker, especially if the paint has detached. But the image process involves chemical change to fibres, as described earlier (oxidation etc). The weakness is now explicable.

Following some patient tuition from Dan Porter, Charles Freeman finally appears to understand what is meant by a negative image (up till now, he seemed to think it simply meant left-right reversed, as in a mirror image). But how can his degraded paint narrative explain the negative image?  Here it is - an embellishment of said narrative (my italics):

February 22, 2015 at 3:49 pm
Subject to support by an expert in textile conservation,I can only repeat what I said earlier. We know beyond any doubt from medieval manuals and the few surviving medieval, painted linens that painting took place only on the outer surface of a cloth sealed with gesso. We also know that with folding and unfolding the pigments could disintegrate. A place called Barley Hall has apparently done some experiments with this but they never replied to my e-mail.
The question then becomes: ‘if the pigments have been in place for five hundred years and then disintegrate what is left underneath? Presumably the cloth has been affected depending on the density of the pigments so that one is left with shadowy images that will vary in consistency with the density and perhaps types of pigment of the original paint. My suspicion is that they will vary so light painted areas will appear darker and heavily painted areas lighter so, perhaps,providing us with the apparent negatives. But in addition to this we have the artist creating a mirror image.
So now one needs to find a textile expert who may know of similar examples. The best case of the pigments disintegrating that I know of is the Zittau Veil - the pigments came off when steamed- but I don’t know whether the remaining shadows where the pigments were are negatives or not.
This is a plausible hypothesis and so needs to be tested out, just as the Oxford lab tested out John Jackson’ s hypothesis about carbon monoxide affecting the radiocarbon date and finding that it did not.
So to go back to the original questions: my hypothesis is that the artist WAS trying to create a mirror image but that the apparent negative image is what is left when the pigments came off after five hundred years of covering the weaver: so nothing to do with the artist himself.

You may consider it a plausible hypothesis Charles. However, your plausible hypothesis required your making late-in-the-day qualifying assumptions, not only about total detachment of pigment leaving no traces for STURP to detect by microchemical testing. It now involves some wild speculation about pigment leaving shadows (why? how? what?).  As if that were not stretching credulity enough we're now told that thick paint leaves light shadows and thin paint leaves dark. "Plausible hypothesis" you say Charles, when it involves your building a house of cards, making qualifying assumptions that no one, least of all yourself, would have dreamed up that rider unless or until, er,  painted into a corner. Last but not least you are looking to art technologists and historians to verify your hypothesis rather than physicists and chemists. Do you have these people at your beck and call, or will there be more who fail to answer your emails?

This not science. It is not even vaguely scientific. It's an attempt to dress up a dud hypothesis with ever increasing layers of fantasy.

Give it up Charles.  This is getting you nowhere, and for the rest of us is a serious distraction from the real business of getting to the bottom of that iconic negative image.

Update: Monday  13:35. Oops. I see my musings and vapourings in this private little pool have been picked up elsewhere.

Philosophical question: is it better to (a) cast around in muddy waters, attempting to find a path through the curtain of suspended silt,  or to (b) make a habit of stirring up mud wherever one goes, blocking out light for anyone who attempts to follow too closely? What do you think, CF?

Afterthought: Monday Feb 23

Another term that ought to be dropped from Shroud literature is "encoded", as in "the Shroud image has encoded 3D information". The error is compounded when it's then claimed or merely hinted at that certain software programs (ImageJ) or readers of brightness maps (VP8) can "decode" that encoded information to produce a 3D-rendered image that takes us back to the original subject.

No they can't.

We don't know the nature of the original imprinting mechanism. We can only guess at it. Suppose however that we did know it. Then physicists and mathematicians could analyse the mapping process, and derive predictive formulae or algorithms that take us from 3D object to 2D mapping, and, importantly in the reverse direction as well (in principle, though there might be ambiguities). In short, if you know the mapping function that encodes 3D information to create a 2D map, you can in principle decode a 2D map produced from the same set-up to get a 3D rendering, but you have to know the imaging mechanism, point by point.

It should be self-evident that taking a 2D mapping from an unfamiliar system and uploading to ImageJ or viewing with the VP8 CANNOT decode. There is no code in the 2D image. It's merely a density or brightness map. The software has no way of knowing how that 2D image was produced. the software has no way of "decoding"it, not knowing the mapping functions. All it can do is scan the 2D image and make modelling assumptions, the most obvious one being that the brighter/darker the image, the higher/lower that point in an artificially constructed vertical dimension (z axis). In other words the 3D-rendering hardware/software creates hypothetical or pseudo-3D relief. That may be totally artefactual, as shown earlier by entering 2D image maps with no 3D history. Where it gets interesting is when one enters the TS image that might, just might have had,  a 3D history. The 3D-rendering one obtains may, purely by chance, good luck, call it what you wish, be a reasonable approximation of what MAY have preceded the 2D image. But one is unlikely ever to have complete certainty on that score, being ignorant of the initial 3D to 2D imaging mechanism. One thing is for certain. ImageJ etc cannot be said to "decode" the Shroud's "encoded 3D" information. It simply reads 2D image intensity, creating pseudo-3D relief in proportion to image intensity. There can be no mystique about the end result, and no basis on which to brag that one choice of settings gives a more "realistic" or "truer" end result than another.

What one can do, of course, is create and test models, and compare the results one gets in ImageJ etc with those from the Shroud. That is what I was doing back in 2012, "normalizing" my ImageJ settings, choosing those that gave the closest match between 3D brass templates and their scorch imprints onto linen. But the results are only as good as the model, and models as we know require independent corroboration and verification. Aye, there's the rub (Shakespeare).

Monday 09:50

These two comments appeared yesterday on, on the same thread, the first on Sat pm, the second a day later: my bolding:

February 21, 2015 at 1:50 pm
I agree with Colin, except for point 3: “3. The 3D-properties of the TS negative image which contrary to early reports is not unique to the TS, but in fact are easily modeled with contact-only imprints, e.g. model scorches from a heated template as this blogger and others has demonstrated, e.g. with a brass crucifix”.
At least, a 2D painting of the shroud also show so-called 3D properties using JImage, even better than the TS.
There is a problem with JImage.

More later…

February 22, 2015 at 3:13 pm
There is much more in the Shroud image than meets the naked eye, the image is indeed very complex. Many scientists have admitted that. This will be demonstrated in a Shroud article that will be available online in a few days time

I'll make a prediction. It's TH who is busy right now, putting together one of his lay-down-the-law, brook-no-opposition pdfs. Louis knows about it through private email correspondence. TH will make the case for complexity that will superficially seem scientific, though probably materially wrong in one or more respects if past performance is anything to go by. TH will then encourage the reader to infer that complexity must point to unspecified supernatural intervention of some kind, or he'll maybe content himself by creating a comfort blanket for those who hanker for mystical interpretations.  (I have no problem with the latter, provided it's not based on agenda-driven pseudo-science).

So, if I'm right, how can I prepare for the coming onslaught? Will the message be simply that the TS image is far to complex and subtle to be analysed with ImageJ, or will it go further and attempt to belittle the capabilities of that software generally?

Having given the matter some thought, here's my defensive strategy, one that can be put into action immediately so as to assemble an armoury.

I shall dust off my brass crucifix (approx 15cm from head to toe) and do some fresh scorch imprints onto linen. I shall then analyse those images at different settings in ImageJ, but not only in natural colour, but in Thermal LUT ("Look Up Table") mode. The latter can be used to take horizontal slices at different levels through the 3D-rendered image, and allow one to deduce which planes are highest, which lowest. That ordering of planes in ImageJ will be compared with the original template to see how well the 3D relief of the original template is mapped onto the 2D image as image density - and subsequently read by ImageJ as "pseudo-relief".

Prediction? A scorch imprint, 3D-rendered in ImageJ, will provide a close correspondence  with the original 3D template. ImageJ  IS reliable, on the assumption that the imaging model is valid. It may not be reliable if alternative models (radiation, chemical vapours etc) are assumed that unlike contact scorching can tolerate air gaps between 3D subject and linen.

16:45 Update: I have just this minute performed some new scorch imprints, using my LOTTO method  to do both frontal and dorsal sides of the brass crucifix simultaneously (first time in fact). The results have been photographed before and after ironing to remove pressure indentations in the fabric.  (Have remembered to use  the scanner on my inkjet printer set to high resolution too). I shall be analysing those flattened scorch imprints in the next day or two in ImageJ, comparing natural colour and Thermal LUT modes. There will be a new posting if the results look interesting and/or TH or A.N. Other pops up to say that ImageJ is "not up to the job" of rendering the TS image in 3D. 

As I said earlier. ImageJ does what ImageJ does. It should not be prejudged on the results it gives with the TS image alone, assessed according to personal criteria that are likely to be subjective. It should be judged on comparisons between (a) the TS image and (b) one's models of how that image might have been formed. 

The closer the match between TS and model, the greater the likelihood that the model is valid according to defined criteria. Who knows- the chosen model might even be "correct",  though proving that is another matter entirely.

Update 18:30 Monday: response to Dan Porter's coverage of this posting from Charles Freeman:

in response to Dan:
Here, in the low country of South Carolina, some of the best game fishing requires you to kayak or wade into the isolated murky salt water marshes. There, you will find the great and tasty Redfish that only sportsmen are allowed to pursue. Sometimes, searching through blogs for the best material seems similar. You must […]
These are hypotheses but they are ones which are making sense to people who know about these things and so eventually something acceptable to the scientific community may emerge. No other hypotheses about the making of the images have gained any widespread support, certainly not in any scientific circles, so why not try another in a field that is still open?

My reply: Well, there's always a first time for everything, like having a historian lecture this retired career scientist on what constitutes good science.

Scientists have a distinctive approach when it comes to understanding unexplained phenomena (or artefacts). They build conceptual models, then test them.

I have never claimed that thermal imprints (contact scorches) explain ALL the known characteristics of the TS image (some might in any case be related to wear and tear). But they do account for (a) negative image (b) 3D properties (c) non-directional image (d) colour and spectral properties of the image (d) mechanical weakening of image fibres (e) absence of artists' pigments

So how, where and when is Charles Freeman going to model his image-forming process? Has he tried lifting old paint from canvases  or fabric see if there's a "shadow" (sic) forming underneath, and to assure himself that any ghost image is a negative, not a positive? Or does he expect art historians, restorers and paint technologists to do his model building and testing for him? Did I hear him say something about science?

Update: Tuesday 24th Feb

While we're on the subject of rogue terminology, the kind that misleads new - and not so-newcomers - into thinking that certain aspects can all be taken as read - there's another word that should be instantly expunged from Shroud literature. It is WOUND, or WOUND SITE, as in sentences like "The exit nail wound is in the wrist, not the palm".

There is no nail wound in the Shroud BODY image. (See my posting from June 2012). There is no lance wound in the side either. There are no wounds where a crown of thorns is presumed. There are no nail wounds in the feet. There are no scourge wounds. There are no wounds that correspond with any of the blood stains on the Shroud. There is blood at all those listed sites I grant you. But there is nothing, I repeat NOTHING in the body image that one can identify as torn or punctured flesh that exists independent of the blood. Put another way, if one were to digest away the bloodstains, using say Adler and Heller's protease, there would be nothing to see that could be identified as "wound site" in body image.

Why should there be anyway, if one buys into other 'received wisdom' re the Shroud, based on STURP studies no less?  Think of the number of times we have been told, based on those same Adler/Heller protease tests, that there is no body image underneath bloodstains. Why?  Because the blood was imprinted first, we're told, protecting the linen from the imaging process.  So how can folk take that Adler/Heller finding at face value (which incidentally I don't, but that's by the way), declaring there's no image under blood, while in the same breath referring to the sites of nail "wounds" etc, as if they can be accurately pinpointed, when all they have is BLOODSTAINS, with NO body mage underneath, whether of intact or torn human flesh? 

There are no wounds, only bloodstains to indicate where there MAY HAVE BEEN wounds. But without that independent evidence for wound sites, as distinct from blood, one cannot be certain that blood was not simply painted onto a preexisting Shroud body image as an afterthought.  Sure, one has then to explain how Adler and Heller obtained the result that they did. There are possible explanations that I shall keep to myself for now. Regardless of whether they are correct or not, it's worth noting that the "blood first" conclusion has now become a set-in-concrete dogma. How scientific is that - to base a dogma (and a narrative-friendly one at that) on a single test that relied on whether the observer saw or thinks he saw a faint yellow colour of body image (or not)  under the microscope, and not on blood samples that he or his colleague had personally harvested from the TS (Reminder: both Adler and Heller worked with stripped image fibres still adhering to Mylar sticky tape supplied to them by Raymond Rogers, who unlike them DID go to Turin to see and sample the TS blood and image fibres in person).

Repeat: stop referring to WOUNDS on the TS. Blood maybe (assuming it's real whole blood) but not, repeat NOT wounds. 

Update 13:00

This appeared yesterday on shroudstory (my bolding):

February 23, 2015 at 5:34 am
I believe the method outlined by Mr Farey is flawed, and there are better images available than that shown on Shroudscope, valuable as that tool happens to be. Firstly only the exit wound of one nail hole of the left upper limb is shown, it is smeared, and no entrance wounds are visible.

Oh dear oh dear. Why do folk post comments with opening sentences like the one above? Better images than Shroudscope? I personally am open to the suggestion there are better images than Shroudscope, despite having happily used that tool as the basis for literally dozens of postings Frankly I can think of no realistic alternative, at least not an as-is negative image.  So what are these "better images"? If one's not prepared to name them, and say why, then  the impression created is one of pomposity, of having privileged information denied to us lesser mortals.

Update: Wednesday February 25.

Have searched for and found the exact words (in French) which Bishop Pierre d'Arcis used in his celebrated 1389 memorandum addressed to the Avignon-based anti- Pope. Whether that memo actually reached the Pope, or was unreasonably ill-disposed towards the Lirey custodians of the Shroud, is of little interest to me. What is of importance are the precise words employed  whether they refer to a painting, or might have, or to a fake relic that a sceptical Bishop might and indeed did describe as a "cunning" painting. (The word in inverted commas was 'habilement',  French, needless to say.). 

What matters is the context of the entire passage if one wishes to determin whether  "cunning " was really intended or simply "clever" or "skilful" (habilement has a range of meanings). I'll be back later with a fuller version of what d'Arcis said in his memorandum, whether or not a mere draft or posted missive to Avignon. 

One thing's for certain: regardless of the finer shades of meaning, there is no support whatever for Charles Freeman's notion that the TS began life as a painting intended merely as a prop for an Easter festival. Props do not have to be "cunningly" fabricated, such that 14th century folk flocked to see one particular specimen  with their own eyes, parting with their hard-earned 'argent', in the belief that what they were seeing  (or were led to believe) was the genuine burial cloth that enveloped the crucified Jesus.  That was before the pigment had fallen off to leave the faint, ghostly  and 'enigmatic' image, correction, imprint, we see today, you realize.  Is there a verb (English) to 'de-enigmatize'More  later.

Update Thursday 26th February

Have located the relevant Pierre d'Arcis passage, slightly abridged (or redacted?) in a French language book on the Shroud (solidly pro-authenticity but seemingly well-researched). Google books reproduces certain pages, not others, and there is no facility to copy-and-paste, so I'm busy right now in retyping ready for translation (Google plus me and wife).

Meanwhile, this comment has just appeared on

in response to Hugh Farey

Here is the link:

I consider the interpretation of the linked Durante image faulty. The crease mentioned is quite minor, nor does the blood trickle detract from the plainness of the true location of the wound on the wrist, as clearly shown on the superior imagery of the Enrie negatives, more particularly so upon zooming. The result is plain to see. I’ve already given several reason why measuring of distances in this area is likely to result in faulty interpretations.

So now we know the preferred source of image when discussing nail "wounds" in the ?wrist - the Enrie pictures taken in, wait for it, 1931. That was in the days when the image was captured onto a silver bromide emulsion, which then had to be developed to complete the conversion of silver bromide to silver grains. So we're to understand that pre-digital chemical technology is supposed to give a superior more authoritative result to fully-electronic, digital photography?  You cannot be serious daveb!  Do you always prefer Enrie over Durante 2002? or do you chop and change, depending on what point you are trying to make or defend? Personally, I use Durante for everyything, except a brief dalliance with the more recent (2010) Halta image displayed on the BBC's site. I would personally NEVER base a claim on an Enrie image unless it was supported by Durante,  but since I never use Enrie (despite being available on Shroud Scope) it's somewhat academic.

Still Thursday 26 Feb

It took a little tracking down, but here's that famous 1389 memorandum of  Troyes' Bishop Pierre d'Arcis, translated from the Latin to French in 1900 by Ulysses Chevalier.

I'll cut-and-paste in red font, and then, at leisure, wife and I will translate sentence-by-sentence into English (black font) 

Extrait de la lettre de l’évêque Pierre d’Arcis, au pape Clément VII, résidant en Avignon (Lettre écrite en 1389) :

From the letter of Bishop Pierre d'Arcis, addressed to Pope Clement VII, residing in Avignon (Letter written in 1389):

« L’affaire, Saint Père, se présente ainsi. Depuis quelque temps dans ce diocèse de Troyes, le doyen 

"The case, Holy Father, is as follows. For some time in the diocese of Troyes, the dean 

d’une certaine église collégiale, à savoir celle de Lirey, faussement et mensongèrement, consumé par la

of a certain collegiate church, namely that of Lirey, falsely and untruthfully,  consumed by the 

passion de l’avarice, animé non par quelque motif de dévotion mais uniquement de profit, s’est procuré 

 passion of avarice, driven not by any reason devotion but only profit, procured

 pour son église un certain linge habilement peint sur lequel, par une adroite prestidigitation, était la 

for his church a certain cloth cleverly/cunningly painted on which, by a clever sleight of hand, was  

 représentée la double image d’un homme, c’est-à-dire le dos et le devant, le doyen déclarant et  

shown the double image of a man, that is to say the back and the front,  the dean declaring and

prétendant menteusement que c’était le véritable suaire dans lequel notre Sauveur Jésus-Christ avait 

 pretending untruthfully that it was the true burial shroud in which our Saviour Jesus Christ had

 été enveloppé dans le tombeau, et sur lequel le portrait de Sauveur était resté imprimé avec les plaies 

been wrapped inside the tomb, on which the portrait of Jesus had been imprinted with the wounds 

qu’il portait.

that he bore.

(To be continued).
 [...] En outre, pour attirer les foules afin de leur extorquer sournoisement de l’argent, de     
 prétendus miracles ont eu lieu, certains hommes étant loués afin de se donner pour guéris lors de   
 l’exposition du suaire, dont chacun croit qu’il est le suaire de Notre-Seigneur. Mgr Henri de 
de pieuse mémoire, alors évêque de Troyes, étant mis au courant de ces faits et pressé d’agir par    

de nombreuses personnes prudentes, comme c’était en effet son devoir dans l’exercice de 
juridiction ordinaire, se mit à l’oeuvre pour découvrir la vérité dans cette affaire. Car beaucoup     

de théologiens et de personnes visées déclaraient qu’il ne pouvait s’agir du suaire authentique de   

Notre-Seigneur dont le portrait se serait ainsi imprimé dessus, puisque les saints Evangiles ne 

faisaient pas mention d’une telle impression, alors que si elle s’était produite, il semblait bien 
que les saints évangélistes n’auraient pas omis de le rapporter, et que le fait ne serait pas demeuré   

caché jusqu’à nos jours. En fin de compte, après avoir déployé une grande diligence dans son enquête

 et ses interrogatoires, il a découvert la fraude et comment ledit linge avait été astucieusement peint, la 

 vérité étant attestée par l’artiste qui l’a peint, autrement dit que c’était une oeuvre due au talent d’un 

homme, et non point miraculeusement forgée ou octroyée par grâce divine» (Texte latin reproduit par 

U. Chevalier, Etude critique sur l’origine du Saint Suaire de Lirey-Chambéry-Turin, 1900, Annexe, 

document G, p. VII-VIII).

Google translation (to be improved upon shortly as indicated).

From the letter of Bishop Pierre d'Arcis, Pope Clement VII, residing in Avignon (Letter written in 1389):

"The case, Holy Father, is as follows. For some time in the diocese of Troyes, the dean of a certain collegiate church, namely that of Lirey, falsely and untruthfully, consumed by the passion of avarice, driven not by any reason devotion but only profit, s 'procured for his church a machine on which cleverly painted by a clever sleight of hand, was shown the double image of a man, that is to say, the back and the front, the declarant Dean and claiming that menteusement This was the real shroud in which our Savior Jesus Christ was wrapped in the tomb, and on which the Saviour portrait had been printed with the wounds he wore. [...] In addition, to draw crowds to extort money slyly, alleged miracles have occurred, some men being hired in order to provide for cured upon exposure of the shroud, each of which believes it is the shroud of Our Lord. Bishop Henri de Poitiers pious memory, then bishop of Troyes, being aware of these facts and pressed to act by many conservative people, as was indeed his duty in the exercise of its ordinary jurisdiction, began at work to find the truth in this case. For many theologians and persons referred declared that he could be the authentic shroud of Our Lord which is the portrait would be printed on it, as holy Gospels did not mention such an impression, whereas if it had occurred, it seemed obvious that the saints would not evangelists failed to report it, and that the fact would not remained hidden until today. In the end, after having made great diligence in its investigation and interrogation, he discovered the fraud and how the said cloth had been cunningly painted, the truth being attested by the artist who painted it, meaning that c 'was implemented due to the talent of a man, and not miraculously wrought or awarded by divine grace "(Latin text reproduced by U. Chevalier, Critical study on the origin of the Shroud of Lirey-Chambéry-Turin, 1900 Annex G, p. VII-VIII).